PDP-8/A Front Panels
v.slyngstad at verizon.net
Wed Oct 19 17:15:00 CDT 2005
Charles Morris and I have been working to create an equivalent for the KC8A
programmer's panel for the PDP-8/A. This panel uses modern parts where
necessary, but follows the DEC design quite closely. The buttons and LED
displays are larger, and it is designed to mount flush with the front of
the PDP-8/A, where the original mounted to a beveled aluminum casting.
Like the originals, there are two long, thin PCBs, held together with
spacers, and affixed to a metal panel that attaches to the rack/8A.
Charles has recently finished an awesome job of debugging the prototype
(thanks, Charles!). (My job has been to drive the CAD tools and get the
prototypes ordered and such.) Now he has the panel he needed to check out
his 8/A :-).
Now that we have (revised) CAD drawings and such for the front panel
assembly, we are thinking about ordering boards for a "group buy",
and want to see how much interest there is in these items.
Unfortunately, the front panels are not inexpensive. It will cost us
about $200 to place a PCB order(1), plus about $20 for each pair of boards
(including the first one) ordered. Parts for each board pair run about
$50. The metal panel is about $85 from Front Panel Express (which allows
the panel to be mounted and look nice). In addition, there are costs
associated with the prototype that we'd like people to help with, that are
As you can see, the price is quite daunting for a single front panel:
$220/1+$50+$85+200/3 = $422. Hence the attractiveness of a group buy.
If we can order 5, then the cost each will be $220/5+$50+$85+$200/5 = $208.
If we can order 10, then the cost each will be $220/10+$50+$85+$200/12 =
(That's under $100, if someone can make the metal panels :-).)
I know there are many who don't have programmer's panels for their 8/A. So,
are any of you willing to put up that kind of money to get one? Send me a
mail with "I'd want one if the price gets to $xxx or less."(2).
(1) We can't use an inexpensive prototype shop due to the boards' size:
(2) I put up a lame page at http://so-much-stuff.com/pdp8/kc8a.html with
pictures of my prototype (not Charles' debugged one).
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